Thursday, August 04, 2005

the sea devil (with salsa verde)

Monkfish with Salsa Verde

...david attenborough voice over: "...from the distance this jungle archipelago looks like slices of monkfish grilled with a great salsa verde"

Last night, cooking from “Fish”, we made a variation of their salsa verde recipe. From the one meal I've cooked, I can see this is a cool book. Blanca recommends it on the basis that it is co-authored by a cook (Sophie Grigson) and her husband fishmonger (William Black)... thus having taste and authority. I recommend it for the best cover of any food book I've seen so far; a mackerel on a red background (check the amazon link).

Ingredients for Salsa Verde (for 4):
Bunch of fresh parsley
Handful of basil
40 g olives
Few anchovies
2 tbsp capers
2 garlic cloves
100 ml olive oil
Salt and Pepper to season

This is the Italian version of the salsa verde, the Mexicans, enthused by the Spanish name have obviously come up with their own variant that looks fantastic. It is spicier and I’ll do it at some point in the future.

The recipe calls for a “bunch” of the fresh herbs. This is a quantity that I always struggle with. defines bunch as “group of things grown together”, “group of like items”, “group of people with a common interest” or “a considerable number”. Whilst parsley does no doubt share a common interest, these descriptions are not all that appropriate. Some sites go as far as quantifying “bunch” depending on the ingredient. For example, a bunch of parsley is in fact 1 ½ cups chopped or 2 oz. To Blanca, a bunch seems to mean half of whatever you have.

Instead of anchovies, we used olives from Spain stuffed with anchovies. Capers are a Mediterranean flower bud. They are not a favourite of mine, but I’m going to try living with them for a while to see if we share common interests. All recipes call for the cook to rinse the capers from their preservative (generally salt or vinegar). Their piquant flavour comes from mustard oils (methyl isothiocyanate) released when crushed (similar to our friend the horseradish).

As we all know, parsley is a regular acquaintance of garlic. The reason for this is that it is thought to freshen the mouth (more importantly the breath) from the effects of garlic or onion. Given that garlic actually infuses your blood and lungs, the effectiveness of parsley may be relatively short lived.

Similar to pesto, you could use a pestle and mortar in order to make this sauce. I used a food processor which was... less effort. Mix all excluding the oil and seasoning. When finely diced, add enough olive oil to make a moist, but not wet sauce. The recipe recommends bread, but we preferred to just use less oil.

Olive oil

Cut the meat into large rough pieces, season and brush on olive oil. These require a relatively short grilling or frying over a high heat. Serve as islands or otherwise.
The monkfish has many aliases; it is called angler-fish, frogfish, goosefish and, best of all, sea devil. All reference sources paint a picture somewhat like the wolf from little red riding hood, they agree that it is:
- ugly
- has a big head
- has large teeth
I'm feeling quite sorry for monkfish, even Alan Davidson turns his back on it, placing amongst "miscellaneous uncouth fish".

It grows up to 2 metres in length and is found predominantly in the waters of the Mediterranean to Iceland. The only edible portion of the monkfish is its muscular tail and its liver. The tail meat is dense and sweet. We had a large monkfish fillet still on the bone. The tail is amazingly large and strong.

I’m off to the fishmonger now to discuss whether the sea devil can be caught in bunches or whether it is just too damn ugly…


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viagra online said...

I like a lot the salsa verde because I think that it is one of the best think that you can eat whit meat, so It is so easy to cook in the house.

Generic Viagra said...

What an incredible tea, my favorite one you know? what the hell is "salsa verde"